CIA Officer Fired for Leaking Classified Information


Fox News is reporting that a CIA officer was fired for leaking classified information to a reporter:

WASHINGTON — A CIA officer has been relieved of his duty after being caught leaking classified information to the media.

Citing the Privacy Act, the CIA would not provide any details about the officer’s identity or assignments. It was not immediately clear if the person would face prosecution. The firing is a highly unusual move, although there has been an ongoing investigation into leaks in the CIA.

“The officer has acknowledged unauthorized discussions with the media and the unauthorized sharing of classified information,” said CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano. “That is a violation of the secrecy agreement that everyone signs as a condition of employment with the CIA.”

One official called this a “damaging leak” that deals with operational information and said the fired officer “knowingly and willfully” leaked the information to the media and “was caught.”

The CIA officer was not in the public affairs office, nor was he someone authorized to talk to the media. The investigation was launched in January by the CIA’s security center. It was directed to look at employees who had been exposed to certain intelligence programs. In the course of the investigation, the fired officer admitted discussing classified information including information about classified operations.


A second law enforcement official confirmed said the CIA officer had provided information that contributed to a Washington Post story last year saying there were secret U.S. prisons in Eastern Europe.

Sources have told FOX News in the past that the CIA prisons/black sites story was referred to the Justice Department for investigation. That story involved the transfer of terror suspects to other countries for questioning. Some believe the CIA transferred suspects to secret prisons in countries where torture is more acceptable; secret prisons and many harsh methods of interrogation would be illegal on U.S. soil.

The administration has refused to address the question of whether it operated such secret sites that may be illegal under European law, citing the constraints of classified information.

The Washington Post report caused an international uproar, and government officials have said it did significant damage to relationships between the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies.

This is the WaPo article that did such damage to the CIA’s operations.

Will the Washington Post and Dana Priest face any repercussions for publishing the classified information?

Ed Morrissey:

Not only did this [article] cause political damage among our European allies regarding their support of our war efforts, it also apparently caused the program’s termination, at least delaying the acquisition of intel from detainees that could have impacted American and Western security. Worst of all, other intel agencies had to rethink their cooperation with American agencies in light of the fact that people within them couldn’t keep their mouths shut.

Power Line:

Meanwhile, the Justice Department says that “there [are] dozens of leak investigations under way.” It seems likely that one of them relates to the leak of the NSA’s terrorist surveillance program.

My only regret is that the investigations didn’t start sooner. Democrats in the CIA have been conducting a leak war against the Bush administration for at least the past three years. Perhaps if the law had been enforced more vigorously long ago, the later leaks, which were even more damaging to national security, might not have occurred.

Ace of Spades:

But there is no internal moral restraint in such people. Anything and everything can be done, no matter how underhanded, dishonest, or borderline treasonous, because they serve a greater good than mere law or ethics.

Update: Fox News just reported that the CIA officer’s name is Mary McCarthy. She worked at the Inspector General’s office and testified in front of the 9/11 Commission.

Intelligence sources tell NBC News the accused officer, Mary McCarthy, worked in the CIA’s inspector general’s office and had worked for the National Security Council under the Clinton and and George W. Bush administrations.

The leak pertained to stories on the CIA’s rumored secret prisons in Eastern Europe, sources told NBC. The information was allegedly provided to Dana Priest of the Washington Post, who wrote about CIA prisons in November and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for her reporting.

Sources said the CIA believes McCarthy had more than a dozen unauthorized contacts with Priest. Information about subjects other than the prisons may have been leaked as well.

Update II: The Jawa Report says that McCarthy gave $2,000 to Kerry’s 2004 campaign.

Update III: Well, this is interesting: Sandy Burglar, er, Berger appointed Mary McCarthy in 1998.

Update IV: It turns out that Mary McCarthy didn’t just donate to John Kerry’s campaign; she and her husband gave a total of $9,500 to democratic candidates and organizations.

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  • jp2

    Didn’t Bush de-classify classified information for partisanship?


    In Court Filings, Cheney Aide Says Bush Approved Leak

    Will the Bush administration face any repercussions for leaking the classified information?



  • Rodney Graves


    Hate to intrude on your carefully nurtured world view, but the law and the facts of the matter seem to have been excluded therefrom.

    The President is THE Authority under law for the Classification, Declassification, or Downgrading of Classification of materials. All authority to do so flows from the President as a matter of delegation. No other party can legally appropriate that authority unto themselves.

    This is the first domino of the reverse Watergate.

    Out Here
    Rodney Graves
    [email protected]

  • The fact that there was any action at all at Langley is thanks to the changes W put in motion with his change there in their administration. There is a terrible turf war going on over there, and it will take a while for it to all settle down. I think this is a positive start.

  • docjim505

    It hasn’t taken the lefties much time at all to come rushing to McCarthy’s defense (there’s some kind of irony here, I just now it…). Witness jp2 above. Lefties at Captain’s Quarters think McCarthy deserved a medal.

    Happy that a CIA officer leaked classified information. Can we question your patriotism now?

  • virgo

    Throw Him and all the rest of these CIA lefties into Guantanamo Bay and let them mingle amongst their own.

  • Ace (Ace of Spades HQ) has the records of the contributions Mary and her husband made to the Kerry campaign as well as the Ohio Dem Party. Looks like 9k total (2+2+5).

  • Cousin Dave

    There’s something about this that strikes me as kind of odd, actually. In any federal agency, the IG’s office is the division that investigates complaints of internal misconduct such as ethics violations, improper personnel actions, irregular contractor billings, etc. Normally, the IGs do not have a lot of day-to-day contact with the operational or technical details of the agency’s programs. So it strikes me as odd that someone in McCarthy’s position would have been granted access to this kind of info in the first place. What’s it all mean? Not sure. It could mean she is innocent. It could also mean she gained access to the information by subterfuge, or by having an authorized person leak it to her — meaning that at least one other person is involved.

  • Rodney Graves


    The pendulum of leaks, having destroyed one Administration, now swings back on the MSM and the Democrats.

    Out Here
    Rodney Graves
    [email protected]

  • mantis

    My favorite part so far is from this MSNBC story on the firing:

    Sources said the CIA believes McCarthy had more than a dozen unauthorized contacts with Priest. Information about subjects other than the prisons may have been leaked as well.

    The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the firing.

    I’m sure this will stop all the leaking. 😉

  • Well, there are leaks, and then there is disclosure of Classified sensitive information that has deleterious effects on National Security.

    From the office that is supposed to investigate things like Fraud, Waste and Abuse.

    For what certainly appears to be politically motivated treasons, I mean reasons.

  • Where’s the screaming from Stuart Smalley, the NYT, Olberman, etec. for this person’s head?!?

  • docjim505

    Cap’n Ed is posting that the whole “secret prisons” story might have been a sting to catch leakers at the CIA. Interesting if true.

    And notice that she testified before the 9-11 Commission. Does this allegation, if true, not call into question whatever testimony she gave?

  • Interesting point docjim, because I was going to add something similar…our local paper has run (albeit buried deep in the paper) two stories where European officials have found no evidence of ‘secret prisons’ but that they want to keep looking because the press has assured them they’re there.

    Curiouser and curiouser…

  • Joe

    Did you hear all the nashing of teeth already on these “News Journalists” being supeonade? is that how you spell it? before the gand jury in the scooter Libby case, it was on CNN and they were acting like this was the biggest offense ever! you gotta love it.

  • McCarthy came into the NSC in 1996 as Asst. to Rand Beers, the chief NSC Officer on “Warning.” I wonder if we have a serial bumbler here, as she could have had input on whether to apprehend Osama back when he was being offered to the US by the Govt of Sudan. Did she make the wrong call back then?

    Sandy Burglar may know, but he ain’t talking!

  • ed


    Valerie Plame leak: BAD.

    Secret Prisons leak: GOOD.

    So would the liberals on this blog kindly explain whether or not I’m supposed to be outraged and demanding someone’s head for leaking?

    Frankly it’s starting to appear that a program is necessary to follow the various interludes of outrage and smug satisfaction.